External Evidence Tests: Prophecy|
Page 3: Ezekiel Tells of the Fall of Tyre
One of the most interesting aspects of Biblical prophecy revolves around the city of Jerusalem. As the Jews were going in and out of the city and moving across the land they encountered many other people. Consequently, there were many interactions and often conflict, which God opposed. It appears that nearly every major city in Palestine has been the subject of prophecy at one time or another. Ezekiel foretold the judgement on the city Tyre with divine precision.
"Son of man, because Tyre has said concerning Jerusalem, 'Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken; it has opened to me. I shall be filled, now that she is laid waste,' therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,' declares the Lord GOD, 'and she will become spoil for the nations.'" (Ezekiel 26:2-5)
"For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, chariots, cavalry and a great army. He will slay your daughters on the mainland with the sword; and he will make siege walls against you, cast up a ramp against you and raise up a large shield against you." (Ezekiel 26:7-8)
"Also they will make a spoil of your riches and a prey of your merchandise, break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses, and throw your stones and your timbers and your debris into the water. So I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more. I will make you a bare rock; you will be a place for the spreading of nets. You will be built no more, for I the LORD have spoken," declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 26:12-14)
This is an incredible prophecy that deserves a more detailed look than we will give it here. There is little doubt, however, that even this cursory glance bears the reflection of God. Note the details in these few verses:
- The city of Tyre will be besieged by many nations
- It will be scraped from the earth and made as a bare rock
- Nebuchadnezzar will attack from the north
- "They" (someone apart from Nebuchadnezzar) will attack again, taking the riches and merchandise as spoils
- "They" will throw the city debris into the water
- Tyre will be a bare rock, a place for the spreading of nets
Again, these are just a few of the things foretold about Tyre in this chapter, circa 587 BC. Nevertheless, consider the fulfillment as told by secular historians. Tyre was an important Phoenician seaport situated on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. It was unusual in that part of the city was located on the mainland, while the remainder was located on a small island off the coast.
During the time that Ezekiel wrote this prophecy, about 587 BC, Tyre was a thriving, wealthy, independent city. Shortly after that time, probably less than 15 years later, Nebuchadnezzar concluded a 13-year onslaught and took the city. During this process thousands were killed and the mainland part of the city was completely destroyed, but unfortunately for Nebuchadnezzar, most of the people and much of their wealth escaped to the nearby island. This ended the siege, as Babylon's naval fleet was no match for the powerful navy of Tyre. Interestingly, in the prophecy above, verse 8 uses he to refer to Nebuchadnezzar, but beyond verse 12 Ezekiel changes to the pronoun they. This reference clearly indicates more nations, coming as waves upon Tyre.
About 332 BC Alexander the Great marched his military forces through Tyre. Precisely as the prophet foretold, Alexander's army began the peculiar process of throwing the rubble and debris into the ocean until they had built a 200 foot wide causeway. In order to build the bridge to the island port, Alexander's army left no debris behind. They literally scraped the debris from the city site, making it as a bare rock. A few months later the army marched across the debris and routed the offshore Tyre.
Sometime later the city was rebuilt on a different site, but would never regain its former status. To this very day you can see fisherman spreading their nets to dry on the barren rocks of the seashore.
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